Bass Vs Guitar: What’s the difference?

If you’re an aspiring musician, choosing what instrument to play is often the hardest part! You might not know the basic differences between various instruments, especially when it comes to the guitar and bass, which are quite similar to one another on the surface. Yet, for all their similarities, there are some major distinctions between the two. First, let’s start off with the ways in which they are similar.


  • Both are string instruments
  • Both use the same chords, scales, and music theory
  • The overall structure of the instruments are the same


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Now, let’s explore the ways in which the guitar and bass vary. Here are the main ways in which the bass and guitar differ from one another.



Generally speaking, the bass is relatively larger than both an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. While the instrument itself is bigger in size than a standard guitar, it also has a thicker neck, thicker strings, and the hardware tends to be larger than that of a standard guitar.




Upon quick glance, the guitar and bass look almost identical. But on further examination, you’ll find that the bass has less strings than the guitar. A standard guitar has six string with a tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E whereas the bass has four strings and is tuned E-A-D-G.




The notes of a bass guitar are played in a lower register than the standard electrical guitar. In fact, they are a whole octave lower in pitch. Due to their differences in sound, the bass and guitar each have their own unique roles and primary functions in music.




In the music world, there are lead roles and there are supportive roles.  While both the bass and guitar are invaluable, the bass is considered to be a supportive role while the guitar is considered to be a more lead role. Traditionally, the bass, along with the drummer, is the backbone of a music ensemble, and the two often work closely together. The bass serves to set the rhythm of the music and keep the pulse whereas the guitar normally carries the melody and has more flexibility to go off-script.



Which Instrument Should You Choose?

Now that you know the basic differences between the guitar and bass, it’s time to choose which one you want to play!  The good new is if you can learn to play one, you can learn to play the other. While the bass is thought to be slightly harder to learn than the guitar, learning either instrument will require lots of practice and dedication, but it’s definitely doable! Luckily, Scottsdale Music Academy offers guitar and bass lessons to nearby residents of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, and more to help make the learning process as fun and pain-free as possible. Give us a call today at 602-751-3537 to learn more!


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